Marriage Equality in ASIA
Updated 11 December 2013
(NOTE: Due to the current political situation we have taken the following license. We've listed info for the Euro Asian countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia with Europe. We've listed Afghanistan and Pakistan with the Middle East.)
No legal status or protections for same-sex relationships.
The King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk, announced in 2004 that he supports legislation extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. However, since his proclamation no effort has been made to legislate for them.
National People's Congress, legislature of the People's Republic of China (PRC), proposed legislation allowing same-sex marriages in 2003. During the course of the debate, the proposal failed to garner the 30 votes needed for a placement on the agenda. Same-sex marriage supporters have vowed to keep pressing for its passage in the PRC.
On 11 December 2013 India's Supreme Court re-criminalized sex between two consenting adults of the same gender, overturning a landmark 2009 decision. The Court said that it is up to Parliament whether or not to keep Section 377 on the books. (On 2 July 2009 the Delhi High Court had decriminalized homosexual intercourse within its jurisdiction of the national capital between consenting adults and judged Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code violates the fundamental right to life and liberty and the right to equality as guaranteed by the Constitution of India.) There are no protections or legal status of any kind for same-sex relationships.
Indonesian same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for any of the legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.
Article 24 of the Japanese constitution states that "Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis." The purpose of the clause was to counter previous feudal arrangement where the father or husband was legally recognized as the head of the household. However, the new constitution had the unintended consequence of defining the marriage as union of "both sexes", i.e. man and women. However, on 27 March 2009, it was reported that Japan has given the green light for its nationals to marry same-sex foreign partners in countries where same-sex marriages is legal. Japan does not allow same-sex marriages domestically and has so far also refused to issue a key document required for citizens to wed overseas if the applicant's intended spouse was of the same gender. Under the change, the justice ministry has told local authorities to issue the key certificate—which states a person is single and of legal age—for those who want to enter same-sex marriages.
Homosexuality is legal when practiced between consenting adults in private. There are no protections or legal status of any kind for same-sex relationships.
LGBT rights are largely unrecognized and there are no protections for same-sex relationships.
Nepal's highest court, in November 2008, issued final judgment on matters related to LGBT rights. The expectation in 2010 and 2011 was that same-sex marriage and protection for sexual minorities, as well as the establishment of a legal third gender for citizenship purposes, would be included in the new Nepalese constitution which was being drafted by the Constituent Assembly. However, on May 28, 2012, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai dissolved the Constituent Assembly after it failed to finish the constitution in its last time extension, ending four years of constitution drafting and leaving the country in a legal vacuum. On 23 May 2012 the Nepalese Home Ministry began allowing people to register as "other," a third category, for the Nepalese Census. This category is provided to members of the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community. A new Constituent Assembly was elected on 22 November 2012. Nepal currently allows same-sex unions but there is official law in place formalizing these unions.
There doesn't appear to be any LGBT rights movement in North Korea and there are no protections for same-sex relationships.
The New People's Army of the Philippines conducted the country's first same-sex marriage in 2005. However it was not recognized by the government. Within the government there has been some debate on the issue of same-sex unions. The Roman Catholic Church stands in fierce opposition to any such unions. But since 1991 the Metropolitan Community Church Philippines has been conducting Same-Sex Holy Unions in the Philippines. As of 2010, the issue of same-sex marriage is not "under consideration" in the Philippines. The only thing under consideration is a possible ban on same-sex marriage, including refusal to recognize marriages performed overseas. No political party has placed gay rights on its platform aside from Akbayan, a small party with only one representative in Congress. The Philippines has yet to even approve any anti-discrimination legislation, so any serious look at same-sex unions is likely decades or more away.
On July 30, 2004, the Democratic Labor Party of South Korea filed a formal complaint against the Incheon District Court's decision to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages. The complaint was filed on the grounds that the decision is unconstitutional, because neither the Constitution nor civil law defines marriage as being between a man and a woman (the only mentioned requisite is age of majority) and that the Constitution explicitly forbids discrimination "pertaining to all political, economic, social, or cultural aspects of life of an individual." The Committee also claimed that refusal to recognize same-sex marriages constitutes discrimination based on sexual orientation and a refusal to provide equal protection under the law.
No legal status or protections exist for same-sex couples. According to Wikipedia, "A poll in 2013 by the Sunday Times found a majority of Sri Lankans, 54%, in favor of legally recognizing gay marriage."
In 2003, the government of the Republic of China, (ROC, aka Taiwan) led by the Presidential Office, proposed legislation granting marriages to same-sex couples under the Human Rights Basic Law. However, it faced opposition among cabinet members and has not proceeded. ROC does not have any form of same-sex unions.
Although Thailand is popularly regarded as one of the most tolerant Asian countries in regards to LGBT people, and both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal, there are no legal protections for same-sex relationships.
In July 2012 the Vietnamese Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong announced that the government was considering legalizing same-sex marriage, stating that "in order to protect individual freedoms, same-sex marriage should be allowed." The subject was expected to be debated at the National Assembly congress in spring 2013.However, in February 2013, the Ministry of Justice requested that the National Assembly avoid action until 2014.In June 2013, the Ministry of Justice submitted the bill that removes the ban on same-sex marriage from the Marriage and Family Law and provides some rights for cohabiting same-sex couples. The National Assembly was due to debate it in October 2013.